PARIS — The three people vying for two seats on the Paris Board of Selectmen fielded questions Thursday, Oct. 20, that ranged from what they would do to attract businesses to what they love about the town.

Bill Miller and Kathy Richardson are seeking the six-month seat that was vacated when former Selectman Vic Hodgkins resigned to become town manager.

Miller has lived in town since 1999, where he and his wife raised their four children. He currently works as a controller for Butler Bros.

Richardson grew up in Paris, moved away and moved back with her husband in the 1990s. She is a retired schoolteacher.

Rusty Brackett is running unopposed for the 18-month seat, which became available after former Chairman Mike Risica moved to Florida for work. Brackett has lived most of his life in Paris, where he and his wife raised their two children. He retired from the Big Rig Shop three years ago.

Describe unique qualities that you will take to your role as selectman.

Miller: I work with people (and) build cohesive teams of people and get things done as I have throughout my career.

Richardson: I think I would bring a positive approach. I am diligent about doing my homework.

Brackett: I believe there is a reason God gave me two ears and one mouth. I need to listen twice as much as I talk.

For the following three questions, candidates were asked to give one-word answers.

Do you feel there could be more cuts in next year’s budget?

Richardson: You can always find cuts.

Miller: Yes, I think there can.

Brackett: Yes.

What do you feel your top priority as a selectman would be: taxes or roads?

Richardson: Roads.

Miller: Probably taxes.

Brackett: Roads.

What do you feel that your best contribution is? Doer, listener or pusher?

Richardson: I’m a doer.

Miller: Depends on the situation, but doer.

Brackett: I already said I am a listener.

What do you plan to do as a selectperson to stimulate economic development and encourage businesses to choose Paris as a base of operations?

Brackett: The Economic Development Committee that’s trying to be formed is a wonderful thing. I think the leadership in the town helps send that message: Paris isn’t such a bad place after all.

Miller: We have a lot to offer. Let’s get the word out about all of these great things Paris has instead of people resigning, people not working with each other.

Richardson: I think it would be interesting to explore the TIF idea. I think if we address our civil discourse and continue in that direction, I think people are going to say some better things about Paris.

Should town employees have to reside in Paris, why or why not?
Brackett: I guess that would be the ideal situation. I don’t know that it’s 100 percent necessary.

Miller: I think it is probably preferably but not a requirement. … I think we would really be shooting ourselves in the foot if we say, “Let’s go with the less qualified person just because they live in the town.”

Richardson: I have no opinion believe it or not.

What do you really love about this town and living here? What excites you, being a resident here?

Miller: It’s a very welcoming community. The inclusiveness.

Brackett: We can walk by and say, ‘Hi, how are you?’ Maybe we don’t know our first names, but we know each other because we’ve been here. Things are good.

Richardson: Land and space is what we have to offer that’s different out there. We’re a scrappy bunch, but we’re pretty doggone good and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

What is your vision for Paris 5, 10 or 20 years from now?

Brackett: I guess I’d like to continue to be able to walk down the street … because there is always somebody I see that I end up visiting and talking. … I hope it can always be that way.

Miller: I’d like to see what I saw when I came up here is a really nice, welcoming community that had a lot going for it. We can have more going for it and … we have some more businesses come in and have more opportunities in the area.

Richardson: I would like to see a town where everyone is comfortable working together toward a goal to make the town work for the people who are in it. … Hopefully we will have had clever enough people to solve some of that [economic situations].

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